What I’m Reading: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

The final book in the Grisaverse Trilogy, Ruin and Rising, was everything I expected it to be—almost. Same great writing, same lovable characters, broken hearts and action and adventure. But there was on thing I didn’t get, and from what I’ve read of other reviews, other people seem to feel much the same way. If you want to know more, scroll past the picture, but if you don’t stop reading now.

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The one thing I felt this book didn’t deliver to me on was the ending. I was expecting much of what happened. But I was expecting/hoping for all of it to end much more tragically than it did. Maybe I’m just all dark and twisty inside, but sometimes a happy ending seems to me to be too happy, almost forced, and almost not realistic. But also, I was just hoping for a different pairing at the end than what I got.

Still, I love this magical world and all of the unique elements to Grishaverse. I’ll probably read the other Grishaverse books. I hear that the other books are even better. Maybe I’ll even start one this weekend.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

Book Two of the GrishaVerse trilogy starts off pretty much where the first book ends. Now, this book begins with one of my pet peeves. If you haven’t read the book yet, or even finished the first book of the GrishaVerse, you may not want to read the rest of this review below, as I’m going to share this particular pet peeve of mine. But don’t worry, after the beginning, the book did get better.

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This book began with a pet peeve of mine. It’s a particularly common trope in fantasy: end book one with the hero/heroine breaking free, and begin book 2 with them instantly being recaptured. I find this a complete waste of plot, as often, absolutely nothing happens when the hero is free. Instead, it’s used a device to end book one in a ‘happy ever after’, just in case the publisher never releases book two. I really dislike this plot device. However, as I said above, the book does get better after the beginning.

Alina grows more as a character in this one, and the story moves from Alina having choices made for her (ie. capture and release), to her making choices. But the best part about this book was Nikolai. I love Nikolai. He is by far my favorite character in this series. I wish there could have been more of him. That’s all I’m going to say. Read this book for Nikolai. End of.

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Young Adult Book Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

GrishaVerse is one of those series that you can’t stop hearing about. I was able to borrow the original GrishaVerse trilogy from a friend a while back. The books are told by the perspective of Alina Starkov, a teen-aged orphan who, surprise, turns out to have magical powers. While this series starts like many a fantasy novel before it, Leigh Bardugo manages to create a fairly fresh fantasy landscape with strong, believable characters.

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The first novel of the trilogy sets up the world of the Grisha, the magic wielders  in this universe. Borrowing on Russian history, culture, and mythology, Shadow and Bone has a fresh appeal for those used to reading more ‘European’ type fantasy. What I liked best about Shadow and Bone, however, was the play between Alina and the Darkling. This book had twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting, and Bardugo did a good job of keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Have you read Shadow and Bone? What did you think?

4.5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Wicked King by Holly Black

You know, I’m pretty sure that in all my life I will never be able to say enough about Holly Black and her fantastic writing. I grew up loving the idea of Fairies (the big, human-ish ones that we now call the Fae, in order distinguish them from the tiny little ones with wings (which I also love, but that’s a tale for another day)). And Holly Black really brings them to life for me.

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The second book of the Folk of the Air trilogy is perhaps better than the first one, The Cruel Prince, which I reviewed last year, and if I have to give a reason for this it is because in The Wicked King we get to see the underwater fae, and if you’ve read my books, you know that I love underwater kingdoms—they are just so exotic! (also, Hello! Aquaman!) Jude continues to be a strong kick-a** hero, who isn’t afraid of a good fight. What could be better? I can’t wait for the next book.

5/5 Stars

JEH

A Reader’s 2019 Goals

On the way into my day job this morning, I was listening to the radio. One of the DJ’s was talking about some research that said we shouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, but make a reverse bucket list, in other words, we should write down all the things we’ve already done that we’re most proud of, and this will help us see where our interests lie, and maybe also give us confidence to tackle new, or future, bucket list items (at least that is what I think the point was anyway). I usually set my new goals in September, since this feels more natural after twenty some years of school. But one goal I do set in January is my reading goal (thanks to GoodReads and their fabulous tracking app).

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First Book to Read in 2019, will be followed by 59 more!

When I wrote my reverse bucket list, I was surprised to feel disappointment that I couldn’t add any big reads to my list. In 2018 I started Don Quixote with the goal of finishing it, but I didn’t get it done. I also, year ago, started War and Peace and read half of it before falling off the train. I really do want to read these books (and finish them!), and writing my reverse bucket list helped me find what was missing. So, in 2019, my goal is to finish Don Quixote as part of my reading goal.

In 2018, I managed to finish 62 books, so I set my 2019 goal at 60. In 2018, my goal was only 50 books because I wanted to get more writing done, but I couldn’t stop reading, so this year I increased my goal back up to 60 books. As I’m over half done Don Quixote, I don’t think having such a large book on my list will slow me down much, and a lot of the other books I want to read this year are rather slender.

So, here’s to another happy year of reading. Did you set a goal? How many books do you want to read in 2019?

JEH

What I’m Reading: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Young Adult Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished this series a while ago but I am just so behind on my book blogging! Long story short, I love The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater. In fact, The Raven Cycle Series is definitely in my top 5 favorite YA Fantasy Series.

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The Raven King was a fantastic ending to this series. While I didn’t love Blue Lily, Lily Blue, The Raven King was the wrap up that I was looking for. And, if you listen to the books on audio, you also get some really cool themed music.

Have you read The Raven Cycle yet?

JEH

What I’m Reading: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

Young Adult Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Steifvater

In the third book of the Raven Cycle, we see more of Blue, as suggested by the title, though don’t get me wrong, the story is still fairly evenly split between the main characters. I’m writing this blurb a bit after finishing the last book on the series, and looking back, I would say that this was my least favorite book of the series, and it felt the most like filler.

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I was, throughout the series, most enamored with the Raven Boys themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored the entire series, and I like Blue  but if I had to pick a favorite book, it wouldn’t be this one. This one felt like it was just waiting for things to start, for the mystery to begin to close, though it wasn’t closing yet. As always, the writing was both fun and exciting and charming all at once. I do highly recommend this series, especially for adult readers of young adult fantasy, since there are some more mature and adult like story-lines as well.

4.5/5 Stars

JEH